BY­PASS ‘IG­NORES’ CUL­TURAL SIG­NIF­I­CANCE

Abo­rig­i­nal groups re­ject her­itage re­port

The Coffs Coast Advocate - - NEWS - JA­NINE WAT­SON Ja­nine.Wat­[email protected]­s­coas­tad­vo­cate.com.au

ABO­RIG­I­NAL groups have re­jected the cul­tural her­itage as­sess­ment for the Coffs Har­bour By­pass and are call­ing for a new one to be com­pleted.

They have se­ri­ous con­cerns about the method­ol­ogy used to con­duct the re­port say­ing it’s just an­other case of tick­ing boxes and rush­ing things through.

Nathan Bren­nan is CEO of the Coffs Har­bour and Dis­trict Lo­cal Abo­rig­i­nal Land Coun­cil and one of the mem­bers of the Reg­is­tered Abo­rig­i­nal Par­ties, which pro­vide a voice for the Gum­bayn­g­girr tra­di­tional own­ers.

“There’s a fair bit of trick­ery go­ing on and the process hasn’t been trans­par­ent at all. They don’t care, they’re just rush­ing it through and tick­ing the boxes which is typ­i­cal of the process across the board,” he said.

“Our sites of­fi­cers iden­ti­fied a num­ber of po­ten­tial ar­chae­o­log­i­cal de­posits but this was ig­nored.”

Mr Bren­nan said the draft re­port failed to in­clude in­for­ma­tion on the cul­tural sig­nif­i­cance of the en­vi­ron­ment and cul­tural land­scape, such as wa­ter­holes, creeks, plants, bush medicines and an­i­mal species liv­ing in and sur­round­ing the pro­posed cor­ri­dor.

He is call­ing for the re­port to be done again and that the Reg­is­tered Abo­rig­i­nal Par­ties be able to select their pre­ferred ar­chae­ol­o­gist and that the new sur­vey in­clude all ar­eas as­so­ci­ated with the by­pass, such as on and off ramps, park­ing ar­eas, drainage and fauna fenc­ing.

“Our an­ces­tors trav­elled from the hin­ter­land to the ocean and the pro­posed by­pass, which now in­cludes land bridges as op­posed to tun­nels, cuts a path straight through this area.”

Mr Bren­nan sup­ports Coffs Har­bour City Coun­cil’s stance in ad­vo­cat­ing for tun­nels, not large open cut­tings, along the route.

“On a pos­i­tive note, we agree with the cur­rent draft re­port which has a pref­er­ence for tun­nels over land bridges and cut­tings, which we be­lieve would se­verely im­pact and de­stroy cul­tur­ally sig­nif­i­cant land­scape and ob­jects.”

“This cor­ri­dor rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant part of our cul­ture and we want to en­sure that ad­e­quate time and care is taken to in­ves­ti­gate and iden­tify cul­tural her­itage sites which may be im­pacted.”

OUR AN­CES­TORS TRAV­ELLED FROM THE HIN­TER­LAND TO THE OCEAN AND THE PRO­POSED BY­PASS ... CUTS A PATH STRAIGHT THROUGH THIS AREA NATHAN BREN­NAN

Photo: TREVOR VEALE

PUSH­ING BACK: CEO of Coffs Har­bour Lo­cal Abo­rig­i­nal Land Coun­cil Nathan Bren­nan.

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